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Tampa Bay Comic Con this weekend
Steranko, Wolfman set to appear at Tampa’s own comic book extravaganza
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Tampa Bay Comic Con is Aug. 1-3 at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa.
TAMPA – One week after more than 100,000 fans congregated in California for the San Diego Comic-Con, Tampa Bay area residents will have an opportunity to gather at the Tampa Bay Comic Con, running Aug. 1-3, at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa.

Hours will be Friday, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There also will be after hours programming, from 6 p.m. to midnight, on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $20 for one day or $45 for three days.

The Tampa Bay Comic Con – Tampa’s own comic book get-together – is widely considered as Florida’s premiere family-friendly and fan-owned comic book convention. The annual event originated in 2002, though it can trace its roots back to 2000 when it existed under a different name and was operated through different ownership. Today, the Tampa Bay Comic Con is owned and operated by Action 3 Events & Promotions, founded by Stephen Solomon and Bill Rocker.

Event organizers provide a variety of exhibitors that cater to a wide-spectrum of comic fandom interests. Attendees will find vendors selling comic books, magazines, toys, games, anime, manga, cosplay, artwork, sketches and apparel.

It isn’t just about spending cash acquiring cool collectibles, though.

The Tampa Bay Comic Con also strives to bring in a roster of guest creators and/or celebrities for attendees to meet. Special attention is given to keeping the convention fun and accessible to families with low admission for adults and free admission for children.

In 2013, the convention drew an estimated 28,000 attendees throughout the weekend. According to event organizers, this year’s event is expected to attract more than 30,000 attendees.

Celebrity guests will include appearances by Richard Madden and Pedro Pascal (“Game of Thrones”) and John Rhys Davis (“Lord of the Rings”).

"It's certainly exciting having Richard [Madden] on-board for the upcoming Tampa Bay Comic Con,” said Solomon in a press release. “We are already well known by Game of Thrones fans from our guests last year. Solidifying TBCC as an event that draws big names from around the world, that no other similar event has ever drawn, is a big positive.”

In addition to those stars, TBCC has already secured several stars of film and television, including Evan Peters and Daniel Cudmore of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” Caity Lotz of “Arrow” and Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy of “The Walking Dead.”

The convention also will feature a number of creative forces in the comic book world, including legendary artist and writer Jim Steranko and writer Marv Wolfman – both listed as guests of honor. Many other comic book creators will making appearances at this year’s event, such as Mike Zeck, Cullen Bunn, Frank Brunner, John Beatty, Mike Grell, Rob Hunter, Joe Rivera, Paolo Riera, Bernie Wrightson, Bob Camp and many others.

Steranko is one of the most colorful characters in comic book history.

Over his lifetime, he has been an illustrator, musician, art director, magician, fire-eater, designer, escape artist, filmmaker, pop-culture lecturer and publisher. According to the biography provided by TBCC, Steranko was responsible for more than 100 innovations as artist-writer on Marvel titles such as S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America and X-Men. The techniques he introduced revolutionized the comic book form.

As an illustrator, Steranko painted a multitude of book covers, record jackets and movie posters, including 30 Shadow paperbacks. He has shown his work at more than 200 exhibitions worldwide, including the Louvre in Paris and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Wolfman is best known for a lengthy run on the Marvel Comics title The Tomb of Dracula – for which he and artist Gene Colan created the vampire-slayer Blade; as well as his work on DC Comics' The New Teen Titans.

His first published work for DC Comics appeared in Blackhawk, Issue No. 242, in 1968. He and longtime friend Len Wein created the character Jonny Double in Showcase, Issue No. 78, that same year. The two co-wrote "Eye of the Beholder" in Teen Titans, Issue No. 18 in 1968. Wolfman and Gil Kane created an origin for Wonder Girl in Teen Titans, Issue No. 22, which also introduced the character's new costume.

In 1972, Wolfman moved to Marvel Comics, where he went on to work on titles including The Tomb of Dracula, Daredevil and Marvel’s adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter, Warlord of Mars.

The convention will offer a wide variety of panels, including question-and-answer sessions with various guests, makeup and costume programs, a zombie costume contest, roleplaying and gaming, speed dating and discussions on everything from “Doctor Who” to comic book publishing.

For information and a schedule of events, visit www.t­ampab­aycom­iccon­.com.
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